Dancing Aesthesia

A method for Dance Workshops and Choreographic
Co-Creation

Claire Vionnet

Starting a new anthropological investigation on the phenomenon of intimacy, I asked myself how I could “grasp” such a sensitive topic in other’s life. After 10 years intensively dancing and choreographing–in parallel to my studies in Anthropology—I became convinced of Dance as an epistemological tool for raising knowledge. I set up a method of facilitating Dance Workshops that I called Dancing Aesthesia, based on Arts-Based Research and Research-Creation.

For this current postdoc research, I am working with different groups of dancers (students in contemporary dance, professional dancers, and contact improvisers). Within each community, we share our dance expertise, invent dance exercises and co-create with the objective of raising knowledge about the phenomenon of intimacy.  This collective act of creation involves participants from early on the research process, allows space for people to tell their stories and (re)write their narratives. Since we meet regularly over a few months, the timeline allows participants to deeply reflect on their experience and develop ways of translating intimate experiences into different languages (oral, creative, written).

In a dance studio, bodies are confronted to live situations. These shared movement experiments invite us to talk, exchange, think collectively and engage in a deeper way on the research topic. The space allows memories, auto-reflexivity and reflection to emerge, from an embodied experience, intertwining theory and practice.

In Dancing Aesthesia, the researcher is similar to a choreographerwho articulates gestures, voices, music, objects and other medias in space. (S)he gathers expertise, skills and people around a specific topic.  Knocking at the door of the community, (s)he evaluates the interest of the community with regard to his/her research question. The investigation is a creation process, in a non-hierarchical form of relationships, in which “informants” become Co-Researchers.

Dancing Aesthesia is also influenced by the SenseLab of Montreal, a “laboratory for thought in motion” created by Erin Manning. Articulating theory and practice through live movement experimentations, the SenseLab focuses on philosophy as a creative practice. In a non-hierarchical transdisciplinary collaboration, its aim is “thinking by doing, always with the understanding that concepts are made in and through the event” (http://senselab.ca/wp2/about/).

For more information on my own research, visit my profile

Claire Vionnet
Project Leader

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